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Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
Less than half of those aged 80 or over with three vaccinations against COVID-19 have received fourth dose — Particularly older people require hospital care

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 21.4.2022 10.01 | Published in English on 21.4.2022 at 12.52
Press release 105/2022
koronavirus

The number of COVID-19 patients in specialised and primary healthcare has decreased slightly. Vaccinations continue to provide effective protection against the more serious forms of the disease. A fourth vaccine dose is recommended for people aged 12 or over who have a severely weakened immune system, people aged 80 or over and all older people living in residential care homes.

Between 4 and 17 April, more than 700 new COVID-19 patients were admitted to specialised healthcare. At the national level, the number of new patients in specialised healthcare has remained quite high. However, the need for intensive care is declining. Between 4 and 17 April, a total of 55 new COVID-19 patients were admitted to intensive care, while in the preceding two-week period (21 March–3 April) the number was 84. On Wednesday 20 April 2022, about one third of COVID-19 patients in intensive care and other wards in specialised healthcare were being treated mainly for some other reason than COVID-19. 

On Wednesday 20 April 2022, the total number of COVID-19 inpatients in primary healthcare was 505. The number of patients in primary healthcare grew sharply at the turn of 2021–2022. In January and February, the number of patients remained high, and it continued to grow in March. On Wednesday 20 April, more than one third of all COVID-19 patients in primary healthcare were being treated mainly for some other reason than COVID-19.

On Sunday 17 April 2022, the total number of COVID-19-related deaths reported to the communicable diseases register stood at 3,589. In the past two weeks (4–17 April), a total of 337 deaths were reported, while in the preceding two-week period the figure was 406. The average age (median) of those who have died during the epidemic is 83 years. The number of COVID-19-related deaths reflects the wide-scale spread of infections in the entire population during the Omicron wave.  

The estimated effective basic reproduction number is 0.80–0.90 with a 90 per cent probability. Last time the number was 0.85–0.95. A value of just below 1 indicates that there is a possible downward trend in the epidemic at the level of overall population. However, it is possible that the epidemic progresses at different speeds in different age groups. In recent weeks, the need for specialised healthcare has increased particularly among older age groups. 

Based on the wastewater samples collected last week (10–11 April 2022), the overall levels of coronavirus RNA in Finland’s wastewater have remained high. However, during the last five times when the levels of coronavirus RNA in wastewater have been measured, the levels have remained stable and have not increased. The levels of RNA in samples collected this week (18–19 April 2022) will be published on the website of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare on Friday at 12.00.

In Finland, 87.4 per cent of people who are 18 years of age or over have received at least two vaccine doses and 63.8 per cent three vaccine doses. A total of 85.8 per cent of people aged 60 or over have received three vaccine doses, and 44 per cent of people over 80 years of age who have received three vaccine doses have also received a fourth vaccine dose. Vaccinations continue to provide effective protection against the more serious forms of the disease. 

A fourth vaccine dose is recommended for people aged 12 or over who have a severely weakened immune system, people aged 80 or over and all older people living in residential care homes. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare has published a working paper on fourth vaccine doses, which contains background information on vaccinations to support decision-making. The incidence of COVID-19 cases requiring specialised healthcare is still highest among unvaccinated older people. In March, the risk of being admitted to intensive care for people with three vaccinations was around one tenth of that of unvaccinated people.

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare has compiled the key monitoring information on the COVID-19 epidemic on its website

Inquiries:

Taneli Puumalainen, Director General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected] 

Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki, Chief Specialist, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected] 

Mika Salminen, Director, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, [email protected]

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